Picking up right where they left off last season, Utah State’s Men’s Tennis team dominated a double header against SUU and Idaho State to open the 2018 season.
In 11 singles matches and five one-set doubles contests, the Aggies dropped just one set to their opponents – a 4-6 setback in doubles against Idaho State – en route to winning all 14 possible points on the day (seven in each match). The win gives Utah State a 2-0 start the season.
“It was a good start for us today,” said head coach James Wilson. “The guys did a really good job of competing hard and just taking care of business. They did a really good job and had a really good start.”
The Aggies had four freshmen play matches in both games. Each hail from outside U.S. borders and all went 2-0 on the day. Columbian international Jose Carvajal won his first match 6-1, 6-4 and dropped just two games in his second 6-2, 6-0 against ISU. Swedish product Valdemar Holm went 6-1, 6-2 against SUU and 6-4, 6-1 against the Bengals. Addy Vashistha of India lost just seven games across his four sets, going 6-1, 6-3 in his first match and 6-2, 6-1 in his second.
The fourth freshman, Argentine Felipe Acosta, won his inaugural match in thrilling fashion. His was the last of the SUU slate of matches and after taking the first set 7-5, he fell behind in the second set 1-4. Instead of waiting it out and playing for the third set, Acosta went for it all and came back to win 7-6 via a tiebreaker. Acosta won his second match of the day with much less effort, losing just two games in a 6-1, 6-1 win.
“I have to fight for every point,” Acosta said following his win against SUU. “It felt so good. I’m really happy. This is my first win of the season, so I have to keep working.”
“I was a little bit nervous since it was my first match for Utah State,” Holm said of his first game as an Aggie. “We got off to a good start and that helped a lot. After we won the doubles point, we had a good energy as a team. Everyone was fired up, vocal and stuff like that which helped us a lot. When we got to the singles, I had a break in the first game which also helped me relax even more. After that, it just rolled on and everyone did good on their courts. As a team, we had a good effort to win this match.”
Wilson was pleased with the play of his newcomers.
“It was nice,” Wilson said. “They played with a lot of passion, they were really excited and didn’t let their nerves get the best of them, so that was good. They handled all the big moments well, and that was nice.”
Both seniors on the team, Andrew Nakajima and Jaime Barajas, sat out singles matches (Nakajima played in a 6-4 doubles match win that sealed the doubles point against ISU).
Sophomore Sergiu Bucur won his lone singles match 6-3, 6-2. And junior Samuel Serrano, who led off both slates of singles matches, won his two contests 6-3, 6-1 and 6-3, 6-4.
The Aggies’ next showdown will be in Salt Lake City against the University of Utah Jan. 21 at 12 p.m.